Reason to Love St Ives #5: The Cornish Pasty
A pasty is a baked pastry, a traditional variety of which is particularly associated with Cornwall and the men who worked in the tin mines. It is made by placing an uncooked filling, typically meat and vegetables, on one half of a flat shortcrust pastry circle, folding the pastry in half to wrap the filling in a semicircle and crimping the curved edge to form a seal before baking. In Cornwall the pasty must be formed in the shape of a “D” with the crimping to the side. The miners had a complete meal that could be easily carried and eaten without utensils and could stay warm for several hours, and if it did get cold, it could easily be warmed up on a shovel over a candle. The pasty was side crimped so the miner might hold the edge of the pastry so his dirty fingers (possibly including traces of arsenic) did not touch his food or his mouth. The edges of the pasty were thrown away. Often pasties were marked at one end with an initial, so the miner could recognize his pasty if it was not eaten all at once. There is a belief that the pastry on a good pasty should be strong enough to withstand a drop down a mine shaft, and the barley flour that was usually used did make hard dense pastry.
The Skys Diner was packed everyday and was also busy with tourists taking out shopping bags full of pasties!
The traditional Cornish pasty, is filled with beef, sliced or diced potato, swede (also known as yellow turnip or rutabaga ) and onion, seasoned with salt and pepper, and is baked. Today, the pasty is the food most associated with Cornwall. It is regarded as the National Dish and accounts for 6% of the Cornish food economy. And Warrens is the Oldest Cornish Pasty Maker in the World!
At Philps Pasty you can eat in, take out, or you can get your pasties by Post! Everyone’s needs met! See you again tomorrow in St Ives!
2 Responses to “Reason to Love St Ives #5: The Cornish Pasty”
Aah! The Cornish Pasty! Delicious. Luckily, you can get them all over England too. When I was in Cornwall, I saw a pasty shop that sold them with about 50 different fillings, but the traditional ones are the best.
The trouble with pasties is that they are so huge!